When the invitation to attend a potluck dinner for NYC food bloggers that Shauna James Ahern (aka Gluten-free Girl) and her husband were having last week during their #AmericanPotluckTrip tour, checking out various cities around the country and meeting food folks as research for their next cookbook about classic American recipes, I knew I was on board to join in. This was a great chance to connect with fellow NYC food bloggers and writers and to enjoy eating a variety of delicious dishes. Besides, I’d been thinking about the gluten-free items that we’d tried at Big Summer Potluck and had the idea for an Italian Cannellini Bean-Quinoa Salad to contribute to the feast – a dish both gluten-free and vegan.
The gluten-free section of the room at our host location the GE Monogram Design Center in Midtown filled up a long table, while the non-gf dishes could be counted on the fingers of one hand and were segregated on the other side of the room. The Diva That Ate New York (Jackie Gordon) brought her incredible version of gluten-free spinach knishes – fried in schmaltz – which were gobbled up quite quickly. There was a pecan-covered Pineapple Cheese Ball created by Michelle Buffardi that was also a huge hit. For those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth, Jackie Ourman made a stack of the NYC deli classic Black & White Cookies that got a lot of attention. My favorite, however, had to be the Flourless Brownie Cheesecake brought by Susan Palmer of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen.
I’ve always admired Shauna for all of her hard work to help those who suffer from gluten-related intolerances and allergies. She puts her whole heart into helping out those who have been diagnosed and who are trying to figure out how to feed themselves without getting sick and suffering other ill affects on their health and well-being. I’ve often referred folks to her site when they mention to me that they need to follow a gluten-free diet so that they can find guidance and can get their hands on some terrific recipes. It was so nice to be a part of this evening and to get to try all the great gluten-free dishes.
I’d love to be able to be all neat and tidy in typing up the recipe that goes along with the dish that I brought, but the truth is that I walked into the door of my apartment at 5:45 p.m., having just started my first day as a production chef at a catering company, with shopping bags in hand from Whole Foods and a rough outline of what I was going to make in my head. The event started at 6:30 p.m., and I live at least 30 minutes away in travel time. I knew I was going to go in the vegan and gluten-free direction. I was also going to draw on Italian taste profiles to add lots of flavor to the dish as well as to highlight one NYC cultural culinary influence, as the event invitation had asked us to do. From there, I just decided to wing it, eyeballing the proportions and relying on gut instinct to make it all come together. Here’s a guess at what I did, but, really, this is a free-form dish that you can alter to fix yours and your family’s preferences.
2 Tbsp. Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Oregano, chopped
2 tsp. Basil, chopped
1 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp. White Wine Vinegar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 c. Quinoa, cooked (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked)
2 cans Cannellini Beans, rinsed
1/2 c. Artichoke Hearts, chopped (reserve some for decoration)
1/3 c. Roasted Red Peppers, chopped (reserve some for decoration)
1/4 c. Black Olives, chopped (reserve some for decoration)
1/4 c. Pine Nuts, toasted (reserve some for decoration)
Did I mention that I was kind of pressed for time in making this dish? I'd had some herbs from Gourmet Garden from our goodie bag at Big Summer Potluck, so I decided to use those (yes, they are also gluten-free). I guesstimated how much I would need to make the dressing, tossed in a few dashes of red wine vinegar and thought I'd add some lemon juice for extra acidity.
When I found that the lemon I had was a bit moldy, I threw in some white wine vinegar, and that seemed to do the trick. Then, I whisked in enough olive oil to balance out everything and make the dressing come together. Taste everything to make sure that the seasoning is balanced.
Mix together the cooked quinoa and the beans. Add the dressing and toss it all together to coat the quinoa and the beans with the dressing.
Mix the chopped artichokes, red peppers, and black olives together separately. Then, add them to the quinoa-bean mixture. Once that is done, add the toasted pine nuts.
Pour salad into serving container. Decorate the top of the dish with the reserved artichoke hearts, red pepper pieces, chopped black olives, and toasted pine nuts. This dish can be made several hours in advance and should be served room temperature.
Gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan